15:28 GMT20 October 2020
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    Latvia is seeking to increase its defense budget and takes all efforts to implement NATO decisions concerning it.

    RIGA (Sputnik) — Latvia is seeking to follow the Wales NATO summit decisions and to increase its defense budget, bringing it to 2 percent of GDP by 2018, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis said in a letter to US President Barack Obama on Thursday.

    "I hereby confirm that Latvia is firmly committed to the Wales Summit decisions and increasing its defense budget to stand at 2 percent of GDP by 2018," Vejonis said.

    The president said that Latvia appreciated the US leading role in strengthening the Latvian defense capability, the long-term US presence in the Baltic region in accordance with the principle of rotation and regular participation in local exercises.

    In late September, the Latvian government endorsed a draft bill which stipulated that the Baltic nation would boost military spending to up to 2 percent of the country’s GDP in the coming years.

    According to the draft bill, Latvia’s defense budget is due to rise from its current 0.9 percent to about 1.4 percent of GDP in 2016 and up to 2 percent in 2018.

    Latvia has been a NATO member since 2004. The guidelines of the NATO military bloc require that the members spend 2 percent of their GDP on the military.

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    Tags:
    defense budget, GDP, Wales Summit, NATO Summit, Raimonds Vejonis, Latvia
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